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Atheist's corner

(352 Posts)
ollieplimsoles Tue 11-Apr-17 19:31:39

Can I post this here?

Had a look through some of the other pages and couldn't see anything similar, so starting this off, don't know if ill get many replies but we'll see.

Basically a thread for non believers, skeptics and people who have left religion/ escaped religious cults and turned to atheism.
To chat, friendly respectable debate, and to ask questions. People of faith obviously also welcome!

BroomstickOfLove Tue 11-Apr-17 19:59:21

Hello! Former atheist here, so I'll probably bow out soon, because I get enough religion fight club in real life, but it's good to have a proper atheist space.

Actually, I'll start by going off and finding a link to a really good group I follow on Facebook, for people escaping religion-based homophobia from families and communities.

BroomstickOfLove Tue 11-Apr-17 20:01:26

Here they are. The Naz and Matt Foundation.

ACubed Tue 11-Apr-17 20:04:58

I'll listen in! Only online sporadically, but am slightly obsessed about people's crazy beliefs, and don't always respect them. Not very nice of me I know, but I do enjoy a good debate about these things.
Broomstick, what made you believe, and do you follow a religion or just have a sense of some higher power?

ollieplimsoles Tue 11-Apr-17 21:34:01

Hi! Same question to you broomstick what made you start believing.

And thanks for sharing the link ill have a good look at it later. Acubed thanks for contributing! I'm also guilty of not respecting an individual's religious beliefs, but I do always give respect to the person when its due. Its ironically a 'hate the sin, not the sinner'

I was psychologically abused from a young age by an evangelical primary school teacher who terrorised me because she didn't like the fact my parents were divorcing. I was 5-6 at the time and since then I never felt 'welcome' in a church, never questioned the existence of god because I never realised I could, once I started, I began picking apart religion piece by piece.

BroomstickOfLove Tue 11-Apr-17 22:59:35

I was in pretty much the same situation, Ollie. My family were atheists, but I grew up in Northern Ireland where there was a lot of Christian Fundamentalism. I didn't get too much grief when my parents divorced, but when my mother got together with a woman and I was the kid with the radical lesbian feminist parents, that was enough to bring out the lectures in assembly about hell. It was a good introduction to the worse side of religion, and it took me decades to be able to ignore their voices enough to hear other ways of being Christian.

With regard to God, I started writing an account of my entire religious history and how things changed and didn't change, but it got really long and actually felt far too personal to share, so I won't.

ollieplimsoles Tue 11-Apr-17 23:06:19

With regard to God, I started writing an account of my entire religious history and how things changed and didn't change, but it got really long and actually felt far too personal to share, so I won't.

Oh goodness my no dont share your testimony if you don't want to, the internet is not the place to share your personal reflections anyway!
I hope you found some peace and clarity after what happened that must have being very difficult to deal with.

I have a huge problem with instilling the concept of hell into defenseless and impressionable young children.

TeaForever Wed 12-Apr-17 06:23:40

Hello all, I'm most definitely not an atheist, and I don't think I ever have been (was probably briefly agnostic for a short time). In fact I'm full-on as a believer. I really do live for Jesus/God. So again I won't hang around on here long, as I think it's important you have your quiet corner (I totally respect people with a different world view) and I'm absolutely not on here to try and convert anybody, fear not!

I just wanted to apologise on behalf of Christians & the church to those of you who have had bad experiences. I'm so sorry. I think the church has made many mistakes, and some (the minority hopefully) Christians have actually slandered God terribly. The God I know & love is all love.

I'm a bit of a maverick Christian myself, and struggle with church often. But that's OK, as the Bible and Christian history are both full of some wonderful eccentric mavericks amongst all the unquestioning.

Anyway, I'll leave you in peace now x

Anon1234567890 Wed 12-Apr-17 18:36:16

Moved into new area, nicely surprised to have neighbor on doorstep with home baked chocolate cake. Friendship went well for a few months until religion came up and they found out I was an atheist, haven't spoken to me since.
Then I met the rest of the neighbors on the street and they had the same experience. Luckily none of them believe in the supernatural either so it is still a nice location to live.

skerrywind Wed 12-Apr-17 21:48:32

Hi there.
I like all others was barn an atheist.

Luckily I have retained that position till adulthood.

I am also an Easter loving atheist.Such a lovely time of year.

OutwiththeOutCrowd Thu 13-Apr-17 12:57:36

Anon, I had a somewhat similar experience at university. A girl introduced herself to me. We chatted, got to know each other a bit and started to have dinner together regularly. She seemed to genuinely want to have me as a friend. Then some months down the line we had The Chat. She told me about her faith and started trying to evangelise me. I explained politely that Christianity wasn't for me.

After that, she dropped me like a hot potato! I would just have carried on the friendship as before. But her only interest in me had been as a potential convert. She had been 'grooming' me, I realised. I felt kind of sad about it!

I'm more than happy to be friends with Christians, Muslims, atheists etc. I quite like getting to know people who have different ways of looking at the world - it's interesting.

Lolly49 Thu 13-Apr-17 13:13:44

Born to an Irish Catholic mother and a English father my df stopped me from going to the Catholic school as he knew even at that young age I had no truck with religion.My Dd was told off at age 6 for describing The Bible as a work of fiction not best pleased with the school as it was non dom.
I cannot abide any religion as I find the whole thing divisive and causes too many wars
Love an Easter egg though.

ollieplimsoles Sun 16-Apr-17 19:45:57

Christians have actually slandered God terribly. The God I know & love is all love

This is one of the things myself and many atheists struggle with from people of faith. If you dislike since aspects of the Church as much as you say, why bother going? Why align yourself with Christianity at all? Its the no true Scotsman fallacy coming up again again and again.

Are there any non believers like me here, who don't actually respect other's beliefs? I respect a person's right to believe, and I respect a person, but I don't automatically respect a belief. I don't think religion deserves automatic respect and tolerance, it deserves scrutiny, it deserves scepticism.

Heathen4Hire Sun 16-Apr-17 21:30:24

I was an atheist fundamentalist. My views have softened a lot recently.

I am a member of the British Humanist Association and now believe in determining my own morals and ethics, based on what I think is right and wrong. It's not hard. I don't murder, steal or cheat. I just don't need a holy book to tell me.

Humanists respect the person, and the belief, even though they don't believe the same thing. They naturally gain knowledge from the sciences, evidence based knowledge. But even if something is proved, it can still be challenged, if sound evidence comes to light.

I have great conversations with people with faith. They ask me about intelligent design etc and say, "Did the trees just appear in that place or was there a reason?" I say its a combo. There may be an evolutionary reason but it's there just because. Because of what? I say, no reason. They can't cope with that!

whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 17-Apr-17 02:40:40

I'm an atheist and always have been. In fact i'm fairly sure I've never believed in anything of the sort and that goes for anything that requires a belief system (such as I have no memory of believing in Father Christmas either) I've often wondered if some of us are hardwired to develop a belief/faith and others just are not, so I find the whole believing in god a curious but baffling thing. As I currently work in a faith school, I spend quite a bit of time being baffled by those around me.
Sorry for putting God and Father Christmas in the same box but that's how it feels for me.

sniffle12 Mon 17-Apr-17 02:58:46

I was brought up an Anglican but think this has always been more of a cultural thing for me than something I actually believed in.

I actually find the routine and values and community of church very comforting, but can no longer really reconcile myself to not believing in it, and also issues such as even the CofE (which I have always considered quite progressive) only just allowing women bishops (and not even unanimously).

I've always thought it would be nice if there was some sort of worship-esque activity for atheists - e.g. a weekly gathering, reflecting together on a certain theme, reinforcing shared values such as tolerance, mutually supporting each other - i.e. what church does, but simply without religion.

I do still find myself wondering why we exist, can the universe really exist in isolation, what is beyond it, etc.... but would drive myself mad if I thought about it too much!

HappyWombat Mon 17-Apr-17 05:07:56

I'm atheist too. Neither of my parents were religious at all, although my grandma was, so I've always been atheist. I went to a C of E school, but aside from harvest festival and the Christmas things I don't ever recall being involved in much religious stuff there. There was a short period in my mid-teens when I explored spirituality, looked at Christianity, Islam, Buddhism (read the Bible, Quran etc), but came out of that even more sure that I didn't believe. My OH is atheist too, although his mum is religious and goes to church quite often I think.

We actually live in Australia at the moment. My experience of being an atheist in Australia has been quite lonely - Aussies are far more religious than you'd think, far more so than anything I ever experienced in the UK. Scripture classes (like Bible study, not generalised religious education) are given once a week in state (supposedly secular) schools. I opt our dd's out, but they aren't allowed to do any meaningful work at that time (by law). They spend the lesson doing colouring in. The government is very aware that religion has influence and power over people, and so constantly pander to Christian lobby groups etc, even though the constitution here states that there should be separation of church and state.

There have been a few 'friendships' I've formed here which have been pretty much ended once the 'friend' has found out about my atheism, usually after a short period of proselytisation. That bothers me, because I don't really care what religion someone is. If they are a nice person and we get on well, I want to be their friend.

Like sniffle, I've always thought it would be nice to have an atheist group to go to, where we could organise charity work, be support for each other, talk about issues that affect us etc. It would be nice to be part of a non-religious community like that.

Heathen4Hire Mon 17-Apr-17 09:51:15

Happy wombat I am sad to read that some potential friendships have ended because they found out you had no faith. That's horrible. I have friends who are Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, Muslims, Jews and Christian. We connect on other common interests, not faith. If faith comes up, it's debated. We might not agree, but we don't end our relationships because of it.

Sniffle My parents got Db and I christened more due to tradition than faith. But they married in a register office (cheaper). My grandmother only took communion because she liked the wafers! My generation in in the family haven't christened any of our kids. My husband, in his mid-40s and his brother, haven't been christened and we're brought up liberal/agnostic.

HappyWombat Mon 17-Apr-17 12:03:58

Heathen it has only happened in Australia, coming from the UK it was a bit of a surprise, to say the least! I grew up in Birmingham which is hugely multicultural, and I found it really sad that people would not want to be my friend because of my lack of religious belief. I would never unfriend someone because of their religion. It isn't something I ever experienced in the UK.

Anon1234567890 Tue 18-Apr-17 15:26:42

Had a chuckle last week when I saw a BBC article saying that even 25% of 'self declared' Christians dont believe in a resurrection. Does that mean they aren't actually Christians? Oh never mind I dont really care.

Then I got annoyed when I read about some priest complaining that supermarkets don't put Easter on all their chocolate eggs. Uggh why do Christians think they have to force their beliefs on everyone. I like chocolate eggs, my kids eat loads of them over the school holidays, and it has nothing to do with religion. Easter or chocolate eggs are not owned by Christians.

ollieplimsoles Tue 18-Apr-17 18:03:41

Like sniffle, I've always thought it would be nice to have an atheist group to go to, where we could organise charity work, be support for each other, talk about issues that affect us etc. It would be nice to be part of a non-religious community like that.

I would love that too, I've had similar situations to what you have described. I would not stop being friends with someone simply because of faith alone, but I might distance myself from a person who held beliefs I find abhorrent as part of their faith (creationists, militant pro life activists, homophobes etc.) I suspect people of faith who held those beliefs would cease a friendship with an atheist for the same reasons, just..opposite.

HappyWombat Wed 19-Apr-17 06:00:44

I suspect people of faith who held those beliefs would cease a friendship with an atheist for the same reasons, just..opposite.

Yes, I've been on the receiving end of this for sure, but only in Australia. I grew up in a multicultural area in the UK, and then worked in part of the medical profession where there is a pretty diverse bunch of people. I had some great friends, but religion only really came up in a sort of incidental way, such as 'Oh, I can't do that I'm fasting for Ramadan', or whatever.

It was pretty clear to me that religion was very much at the forefront of people's lives right from the start here. The first time I went to an Australian playgroup with my dd's, one of the mums was going on about how period pains are punishment from God for Eve eating the apple. I decided to keep quiet about my atheism, because I wanted to fit in and make some friends. It was only later on, when I'd been friends with this woman for four years or so, that she found out about my atheism, just from something I'd liked on Facebook. At this point she started asking things like did I want my dd's to go to hell, and telling me that it was my fault that my dad had died (apparently punishment for my lack of belief). Eventually she gave up trying to convince me to convert, and she stopped contacting me. I was actually glad that our friendship ended, because I saw a side of her that I didn't like.

There was one friend who is Anglican, and fairly heavily involved in the church who backed away once she found out I was atheist, whose friendship I was gutted about losing. She is the mother of my eldest daughter's best friend, we've a whole load in common, she is really liberal on things like gay marriage, abortion etc and we used to get on really well. We were chatting about things one day, and I mentioned that I opt my dd's out of scripture class at school, and you could almost see the change in attitude towards me. She stopped inviting me over for coffee (or accepting my invites), stopped messaging me, and sadly playdates and sleepovers with our dd's stopped too. The kids are still good friends, but only see each other at school. We are moving back to the UK later this year though, so I console myself with the thought that the friendships would have ended anyway.

skerrywind Wed 19-Apr-17 06:24:27

I have christian family members who won't visit or even communicate with me because of my lack of belief.

DoctorTwo Wed 19-Apr-17 07:05:35

Those of you who want to attend a non religious meeting can do so. I think it's called The Sunday Assembly and it's for people of all and no faith.

I don't have nor do I need a god. I firml;y believe Hitchens was right when he asserted that religion poisons everything. And when he said that anything that is declared without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

MyUsernameIsInvalid Wed 19-Apr-17 15:47:29

Had a chuckle last week when I saw a BBC article saying that even 25% of 'self declared' Christians dont believe in a resurrection.Does that mean they aren't actually Christians? Oh never mind I dont really care.

Interesting comment. I wonder the same thing about "self declared" Christians (or other religions for that matter though Christianity is one that struggles currentky ij different churches with what official doctrine should be) who's belief goes against the instruction of the Bible?

For example, how many people have sex before marriage, worship idols (a cross, an image of jesus/mary etc, are all idols) when such things are said to be unholy in the Bible.

Now I'm not judging anyone as I have myself to judge as to wether I'm doing what I should as concerns any beliefs I have, but I do wonder though when a persons beliefs are based on a work and they live a completely different life as compared to one that would follow through with what is in that work, how they can profess to be part of any organization that is based on that work.

The whole thing puzzles me.

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